Terrorism Research Influences Courts Abroad

28 February 2011

Associate Professor Ben Saul's research on anti-terrorism in law has influenced two recent decisions of foreign courts.

In February 2011, the Appeals Chamber of the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon drew on Dr Saul's research in considering whether terrorism is now a crime under customary international law.

The Special Tribunal was established by the UN Security Council to deal with the perpetrators of terrorist bombings which killed a former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, in 2005.

The Tribunal controversially found that terrorism is now a customary international crime. In late 2010, Dr Saul's research was relied upon by the Appeals Court of Ontario, Canada, in overturning a lower court decision which had found Canada's crime of terrorism to be unconstitutional.

The Appeals Court found that including a 'motive' element in the definition of terrorism (such as a requirement that conduct has a political or religious purpose) was compatible with human rights law protections, as had been argued by Dr Saul in previous research.

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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